Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Whiff of Homeschooling

S announced last night that, "School was the best thing that ever happened to her," her brother D quickly responded with, "I think I'm one of those kids that does better without school, I can just learn on my own and stuff." How well they know themselves. S was homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade and easily made the transition to a full-fledged sit and learn classroom. I was counting on her hating it and returning home after that year, but something about her makes her thrive in the presence of others. In fact, her teacher often comments that she wished the other students would have S's enthusiasm for learning. I will take full credit for that, some of the kids in her class spent 2 years in preschool and then popped into all-day kindergarten, they were burned out before they even got to the real meat of school. She is only in her second year of formal instruction so it is still a novelty for her.

On the other hand, Boy D it trying to hold it together for the remainder of the year. He finds school to be excessively boring and has spent all year trying to figure out why it must be a 6 1/2 hour day. I hear the same exasperation everyday from him as we march into the building. His teacher is understanding and does not mind if Boy D takes "personal days" once in a while because she has no issues with his academic performance. This is key because it eliminates me having to lie and say that he is sick when he is really home building airplanes and playing with electricity.

On Friday I pulled the kids out after half a day to take them on a field trip to see Grossology in a near-by real city. It didn't occur to me what our troupe looked like until another mom asked me if I was a homeschooler. Of course we looked like homeschoolers! I had 5 kids with me (because I borrowed an extra one from a friend) during the middle of a school day and the girls and myself had some form of skirt/dress on. Not that the skirt/dress on all females is in any way an indicator of homeschooling but it did complete the picture. I admitted that we were ex-homeschoolers and had a really wonderful conversation with this woman about the positive features of homeschooling, especially for boys. I left feeling a bit torn about that fact that on Monday my kids would return to the world of "one method works for all" school.

To top it off, S had a violin performance at the Whiting on Sunday where before the grand finale they recognized all the seniors individually that have attended the Flint Institute of Music. It was very pleasing to hear the statement "A homeschooler from..." over and over, in larger proportions than I would have expected. It was even better to see that the homeschooled students didn't walk out on stage all hunched over and ogre-like to receive their certificates. I didn't expect this, but my mother, sitting a few seats down has never been able to contain her disdain for the homeschooling we did do and I'm sure she was disappointed at how poised and energetic these young people were. It went against everything she wants to believe and supported everything I do believe. I know homeschooling isn't for every family or even for every kid in a family, but it sure is nice to have a whiff of it once in while and to bring the possibility back to the front burner.


Alissa said...

I hear you and totally agree!

Wendy said...

I know what you mean. You are wise to see how it is working for your family and go from there. We are homeschooling right now, but reevaluating every year to see how it is working, etc.

Love your blog!

abby said...

Homeschoolers are weird. Trust me.

Oh, and they're not to be trusted.

Mechelle said...

Wendy, thanks for visiting! I have been a lurker on your blog for almost a year and as you can see you are in my list favorites :)

Kim said...

My older kids were in the public schools here for a couple of years before we had enough courage to actually homeschool...the funny thing is I always had wanted to homeschool...since my oldest was a baby. It must be the teacher in me. We love homeschooling now and think it has been very beneficial for them in the long run. I tell people they do well in spite of me. But, I know what you mean...it is not for everyone. Every family has to make that decision and do what is best for everyone. I appreciate your balanced view!

Great thoughts and I enjoyed reading this post!